Trump seeks White House again amid GOP losses, legal probes

former president donald trump He said on Tuesday he would launch a third White House campaign, kicking off the 2024 campaign early.Just a week after the announcement GOP midterms underperform and will force the party to decide whether to accept a candidate in 2020 who refuses to accept defeat Pushing American democracy to the brink.

“To make America great and glorious again, I declare tonight my candidacy for President of the United States,” Trump said at his Mar-a-Lago club, where he stood beside more than 30 American flags and banners that read his ” Make America Great Again” slogan.

“I’m running because I believe the world hasn’t seen the true glory of this country,” Trump said.

“We’re going to put America first again,” he added.

Trump is running at a politically fragile moment. He hopes to start his campaign after a sweeping GOP midterm election victory, fueled by candidates he has promoted in this year’s primaries. Instead, many of those candidates lost, allowing Democrats to hold on to the Senate while Republicans managed only a slim majority in the House.

Far from being the undisputed leader of his party, Trump is now facing criticism from some of his own allies who say it is time for Republicans to look to the future, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis becoming an early favorite. Welcome contenders for the White House.

The former president remains popular among Republican voters. But other Republicans, including former Vice President Mike Pence, are taking increasingly public steps to launch their own campaigns, adding to the tensions Trump will have to navigate in the closely contested Republican primary. possibility.

His candidacy comes amid a series of escalating criminal investigations, including several that could lead to indictments.which included an investigation into dozens of documents marked as classified Seized by the FBI From Mar-a-Lago and ongoing state and federal investigations into his efforts Overturn the result 2020 presidential election.

Another campaign would be a marked turnaround for any former president, let alone one who made history as the first man to be impeached twice and whose tenure was marked by his Supporters stormed the Capitol, deadly preventing the peaceful transfer of power on January 6. , 2021.

But Trump, according to people close to him, always longing to return politics and try to prevent the rise of other potential challengers. Aides have spent the past few months preparing paperwork, identifying potential hires and sketching the outlines of a campaign modeled on his 2016 campaign, when a small group of aides rallied on his private jet Galloping between, beating the odds — funding and more experienced rivals by exploiting deep political fault lines and using shocking statements to garner the relentless attention of the media.

Even after the GOP’s defeat, Trump remains the most powerful force in his party. For years, he has held a substantial lead over other Republican contenders in a hypothetical head-to-head contest. He consistently draws thousands to his rallies even when he’s out of office and remains his party’s most prolific fundraiser, raising hundreds of millions of dollars.

But Trump is also a deeply polarizing figure. In last week’s midterm elections, 54 percent of voters viewed him very or somewhat unfavorably, according to an AP VoteCast survey of more than 94,000 voters nationwide. An AP-NORC poll in October found that even Republicans have reservations about his continuing to serve as the party flag, with 43 percent saying they don’t want to see him run for president in 2024.

Trump’s candidacy raises profound questions about America’s democratic future. In the final days of his presidency, he fought desperately to retain power, disrupting a centuries-old tradition of peaceful transfers. In the two years since his defeat, Trump’s persistent and baseless lies about widespread election fraud have undermined confidence in the nation’s political process. An AP-NORC poll found that in late January 2021, about two-thirds of Republicans said they did not believe President Joe Biden could legitimately be elected in 2020.

VoteCast shows that roughly as many Republican voters continue to hold that belief in the midterm elections.

Federal and state election officials, as well as Trump’s own attorney general, have said there is no credible evidence that the 2020 election was tainted. The former president’s fraud charges have also been thrown out across the board by numerous courts, including a Trump-appointed judge.

But that hasn’t stopped hundreds of midterm candidates from imitating his lies as they try to win over his loyal supporters and secure the support he covets. In the end, many of these candidates went on to lose, showing that voters rejected such extreme rhetoric.

While some Republicans with presidential ambitions, such as former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, have long ruled out running against Trump, others say he won’t consider their decision, even in his midterms. The same is true before failure.

They include Pence, who published a book on Tuesday, and Trump’s former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, as well as former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who ran against Trump in 2016. Other potential candidates include Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin. Trump could also face challenges from members of the party’s anti-Trump wing, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who has been investigating a Jan. 6 House committee.

But the person who has focused most on Trump and his allies in recent months has been DeSantis, whose re-election as governor last week was a bright spot for Republicans this round. The former congressman, who has become a popular national figure among conservatives for his opposition to COVID-19 restrictions during the pandemic, shares Trump’s boxing instincts and engages in the fight on social issues with similar fervor.

Even some ardent Trump supporters say they are eager for DeSantis to run, seeing him as Trump’s natural successor without the heavy baggage of the former president.

Trump has already begun to publicly attack DeSantis. On Tuesday, Florida’s governor fired back.

“At the end of the day, I’d just tell people to go and check the scoreboard last Tuesday night,” DeSantis told reporters.

A crowded Republican rivalry could end up working in Trump’s favor, as it did in 2016, when he defeated a dozen other candidates who split the anti-Trump vote.

Trump’s decision paves the way for a potential rematch with Biden, who has said he intends to run for re-election despite concerns from some in his party about his age and low approval ratings. The pair are already the oldest presidential candidates ever to run in 2020. Trump, 76, will be 82 when his second term ends in 2029. Biden, who is about to turn 80, will be 86.

If he ultimately succeeds, Trump would become only the second US president in history to serve two terms, following Grover Cleveland’s victories in 1884 and 1892.

But the big challenges Trump faces as he enters the race go beyond his party’s growing fears. The former president is the subject of numerous investigations, including a months-long probe into hundreds of classified-marked documents found in boxes at Mar-a-Lago.

Meanwhile, Trump faces Justice Department scrutiny for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fanny Willis is investigating what she calls a “multistate coordinated plan by the Trump campaign” to influence the 2020 election outcome.

In New York, Attorney General Letitia James sued Trump, accusing his namesake company of engaging in decades of fraudulent bookkeeping by misleading banks about the value of his assets. The Trump Organization is also now on trial, facing criminal tax fraud charges.

Some in Trump’s orbit believe that running will help protect him from potential prosecution, but there are no laws and regulations that can prevent the Justice Department from moving forward — or prevent Trump from continuing to run after being charged.

It’s no secret that he’s been planning something.

At a White House Christmas party in December 2020, Trump told guests it had been “an amazing four years.”

“We’re trying to do it for another four years,” he said. “Otherwise, see you in four years.”

Jill Colvin, Associated Press

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